- Name: Kanishka Rathnayaka
- Year: 2019
- Studio: Level III
- University: University of Moratuwa
The design of the resort focuses on capturing the different experiences and spatial narrations of the surrounding by merging along with the flow of the contours and rubber grids of the site. The major aspects of the site are the 4 m X 7 m rubber grid, the fresh-water stream that flows through the rocks and the small animal movements, perpendicular to the contours along the sloping site. The site is bordered by access roads on either side which give a separation for privacy, while the forest reservation borders another edge of the site. This has created a decisive design constrain since clearing the vegetation to use maximum space for the built environment can cause soil erosion in such a context. So, the idea of this design is about positioning a temporary structure in a way that it is locates sensibly without harming the surrounding flora and fauna by minimizing the impact of ongoing constructions on the surroundings.
Rubber cultivation is rampant in the area. Therefore the layout has been designed between two rows of rubber trees to avoid cutting the existing vegetation, which allows to merge a built space to a natural setting without a major change to the environment. As a result, a linear-shaped grid form was selected to fit the narrow area between the rubber tree rows. The linear pathway along the main building is the most dominant space of the design. The rhythmic flow of the closed and enclosed spaces makes the design interesting by providing a journey through the building. Therefore the curiosity of a visitor is captivated by the planning of this layout that gives different experiences in each space by the quality of the various views captured.
The whole structure can be easily dismantled due to the simple joints and construction techniques that have been used. As a life cycle responsive design, the idea is to let nature take over the building with its due course in time, and to let the undergrowth shrubs to spread over the land. The elevated structure with steel screw pile ensures that the ground is touched lightly so that it causes minimum damage, while lifting the building off the ground helps to resist soil erosion which is a crucial vulnerability in such a sloping site. Due to the perpendicular alignment of the structure to the contour lines, timber fins have been used to allow cross ventilation for the building. Most importantly, all details used in this design are temporary fixtures. For example, the timber made with “c” channel framework and the timber plates are overlapping each other without using any fixed joint. Thus, even if in future the temporary structures are to be removed, the site would incur no damage or change as to how it was prior to construction. Perched in a hilly terrain, the elevated structure allows the prevailing movements of wildlife, which on the other hand allows visitors to observe the animals in their natural habitat from an enclosed space. This makes the design more environmentally responsive as it makes minimum impact to the natural setting.
The basic materials that have been used in the project are steel, treated timber, glass, rubble and concrete. The chalet structure is made out of steel and the envelope is covered with timber panels. The timber panels are specifically designed to allow easy removal, due to the temporal character of the project. Concrete and rubble usage is reduced in comparison to steel and timber, whereas certain corners of the building are decorated with rubble walls. Large glass panels have been used to get a clear view of the lush greenery while maintaining the internal- external spatial connection without forming a visual barrier. Resin canopies have been used for shading the immediate spaces of the chalets, while Zn/Al roofing sheets have been used for the roof as a lightweight building material. To enhance earthy tones, the floor is finished with timber, wooden panels, seal windows and the use of natural colours such as greens to match the leaves of the rubber trees, and brown on outer walls to match the tree trunks which altogether camouflages the resort with nature.
The overall design language and architectural style of the building celebrates a vernacular building style infused with modern construction technology and aesthetics. Thus the specifics of the aesthetical appeal of the building that are enforced from its language in form to details, are focused on integrating this built space between a highly dense forest and a rubber plantation. Therefore the whole building has been manifested to merge with the surrounding greenery by adapting with the vegetation.